Card of the Day: 1975 Topps Pirates Team Card

I haven’t posted many of these Topps team cards over the 3+ years of this almost daily series. That’s because these cards make little sense to me due to the size of cards and quality of the photos. If you are a fan of the team cards, make yourself known in the comment section. I want to hear the appeal.

Just because I don’t like cards, doesn’t mean I will ignore them. If I did that, you would still be waiting for the first 1977-78 Topps article. I decided to look for a set that has a Pirates team photo card and it hasn’t been here in the last few months. I came up with the 1975 Topps set. Our last look at it was last year.

Something about the year I was born makes me not remember a single thing about the 1970s, but I did have parents/aunts/uncles growing up then, and I’ve seen the pictures. The 1975 Topps set is right there with the 1972 set for the most 1970s decade feel to them for me. For the 1972 set, it’s more about the design than the colors, while the 1975 set, it’s all about the wild color combos. It’s a set that my opinion changes on so many times. It’s never top three for me (1970-71 and 1974), but it will quickly go from “it’s not that bad” to “what were they thinking” and vice versa.

The 1975 Topps set didn’t have any rhyme or reason to their color choices for cards, switching drastically between players of the same team. There are some bright colors, darker colors (brown and dark orange?) and strange combos like green and purple. Keep that in mind when you wonder what they were thinking here, as we look at card #304 from the 1975 Topps set.

Here’s the front of the card:

I’m looking at this card on my laptop screen and I can’t tell who half of these players/personnel are without looking closely. I thought I saw Richie Zisk in three different spots. Now imagine having one of these cards in hand where it’s about half the size of what I’m seeing? The photo quality doesn’t help either. I like the idea of these cards, but it doesn’t work with the older photos, especially when they don’t ID the photos. At least a set like the 1956 Topps had player names on the front as well.

What’s interesting on these cards is how they separate the manager and give him a spot, plus identify him in the bottom corner. Murtaugh is right there in the picture too, sitting behind who I assume is a bat boy. In a sense, this card also doubles as his 1975 Topps card. More on that shortly.

As I mentioned up top, the colors have nothing to do with the teams. Why is the Pirates team card using Mets colors, along with red letters for the team name? The world may never know what went behind that decision.

Here’s the back of the card:

I mentioned just yesterday how Jim Leyland had a horizontal card with the standard vertical back in the 1992 Topps set, which was opposite from the regular (non-manager) cards in the same set. These 1975 checklist/team cards are all horizontal (obviously) in a standard vertical set, but the regular cards also have vertical backs. Topps kept the same horizontal look on the back for the horizontal cards

You can see that there are 25 cards in the Pirates team set, with two listings of note. One is that this card is on its own checklist, and it is listed as being Murtaugh’s card. The other one is that Dave Augustine is listed here on a four-player rookie card. That’s means that card #616 shows up on four different checklists. That card is known now as the Jim Rice rookie card. Augustine just tagged along.

That baseball card offer seems pretty good. I bet I would have sent for that if they had the same type of deal when I was a kid. Of course it would probably be up to 50 cents by then, but I’d still do it.

If you are interested in this card, the most expensive one is $69 or best offer, which is signed by seven people, including Richie Hebner, Ed Ott and Bob Skinner, who was a coach back then. There are some others priced higher, but it’s a type of variation that is for advanced collectors. There’s also a mini one, which if you’re unfamiliar with the 1975 Topps set, they printed their set in a smaller version as well. I personally like the mini, but if you thought the ID part was difficult here, imagine a smaller card with the same issues.

There’s a PSA 9 for $65. There’s also a lot of ten of these cards in decent shape for $19, with a best offer option. There are plenty of options in the $3-$4 delivered range if you just want a mid-grade one. Ebay has over 100 auctions for just this card, plus it’s included in a group of cards in quite a few other auctions.

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